GONG He | 宫 鹤
1982 Born in Xiuyan Country Liaoning Province, Manchu
2004 Graduated from the Second Studio of the Oil Painting Department of the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts
Now lives and works in Beijing China
2012 Jericho’s Sunset-Gong He Solo Exhibition, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
2011 Solo Exhibition in Tokyo, Gallery Art Composition, Tokyo Japan
2014 Mono-Youth Artists Group Exhibition, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
2013 Works from Shun Art Gallery, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
2012 C.W. clockwise-Secret in the Gallery Warehouse, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
John Moores Painting Prize (China) Exhibition, Shanghai Oil Painting and Sculpture Institute Art Museum, Shanghai China
2011 If We Hold On Together-Charity Auction for the post earthquake and Tsunami reconstruction in Japan, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
Small Shape Big World-Collections from Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
2010 Arts of Three Kingdoms, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
2009 New Year Exhibition, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
Youngs Follow Shun-3rd Young Artists Exhibition, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
Permanent Exhibition 2009, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
Japan Young Artists Exhibition, Tokyo Japan
2008 Goodbye! My Love-Teresa Teng 13th Anniversary Memorial Exhibition, Shun Art Gallery,Shanghai China
Result-Small Works from Beijing Christians, HaiFeng Art Space, Beijing China
The Departed-Exhibition of Works by the Young Artists from Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, Shun Art Gallery, Shanghai China
2013 India Art Fair, Delhi India
Kyoto Art Fair，Kyoto Japan
Citizen Art of Shanghai, Shanghai China
2012 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair, Shanghai China
KIAF2012, Seoul Korea
SWAB Art Fair, Barcelona Spain
Citizen Art of Shanghai, Shanghai China
2011 Doors Art Fair 2011, Seoul Korea
KIAF2011, Seoul Korea
Art Metz 2011, Paris France
2010 Shanghai Taipei Cultural and Creative Industry EXPO, Shanghai China
Tokyo Art Fair, Tokyo Japan
2009 Expat Show, Shanghai China
Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai China
2008 Affordable Art Fair (Time Out), Shanghai China
Amazing handsome guy–About Gong He
I met Gong He at his 2011 solo exhibition for the first time at the Art Composition Gallery in Tokyo, Japan. He sat in a chair in the corner, giving people a taciturn impression. He rarely spoke and even never made eye contact with others at the exhibition. There are generally two types of artists: either they are sociable or they are shy and reticent. Needless to say, Gong He belongs to the latter. And from his artworks, we can easily see not only the proficiency and delicacy of his painting techniques, but also his strong critical spirit and a modest sense of humor. “What an outstanding young man!” I spoke to myself, looking back at Gong He again, who still sat in the chair silently, with his head down, in seemingly deep thought.
Speaking of Gong He, I would like to first talk about his series of “Unreasonable Panda”. The panda playing with pet turtle and pet bird thoughtfully, the panda riding in a bike which never works, the panda playing the guitar enjoyably by itself, the panda smoking and drinking in low spirits, the panda selling himself out with no expression, the panda exclaiming the swift internet connection speed at night, the panda facing the music due to its fault, the panda hiding himself in the ruins……..Though cute these pandas look, they have surprised us to some extent . All kinds of bizarre behaviors of the pandas remind us of innocence and cruelty, development and recession, hilarious worship and loneliness after show. It’s easy to see that these cute pandas are supposed to be the self-portrait of Gong He himself. Maybe no one could understand the world of pandas, because the existence itself is worth being cherished, we can hardly understand what pandas have done. No matter who we are, we all are exploring the meaning of existence after birth. In the panda series, most of us only see the cuteness of pandas, but these pandas are actually explorations of survival value of human beings.
Gong He made small objects and gadgets out of paper money and newspaper, and then painted them on the canvas which became the “Money with Flames” and “Newspaper” series. These artworks are tell us more than “Unreasonable Panda”. We can get a glimpse of news from the clipped text in which the protagonists are a man and a woman, portraying a weak yet very strong female image. I wonder if it is because of the color, the whole scenes look just like a set of situations in an old French short film. For example, there is a scene with a money gun and a extinct cigarette. It can be interpreted in various perspectives, from functionality color perspective to the political one. The artists Gong He seems to imply that all artists’ works can be interpreted from not only functionality color perspective but also political one.
Concerning an artist like Gong He, I would emphasize his speciality and personality in the Chinese contemporary art world rather than introduce the works piece by piece. There are photo-realistic works of art, meanwhile, there are also works of abstract expressionism without the objective reality, which lays great emphasis on the conceptuality. And Gong He works portrays both providing a brand new perspective for the art criticism. Viewers can find themselves in his artworks, because that’s the common thing of human nature. However, we can also conclude that is the original sin which people are born with, as all kinds of karma. In the depth of Gong He’s shy eyes, we can see the spirit of praising the society and tolerance of human folly.
I have already begun to look forward to seeing Gong He’s more and more new artworks.
Scars of Mr. Potato
The sun far existed than human beings, but what about potatoes? I always believe that potatoes would exist earlier than human beings even though there is no scientific proof yet.
It was at the previous 10 young artists exhibition held by Shun Art Gallery that I saw the artworks of Gong He for the first time. I saw a row of potatoes works in the studio of his friend, a postgraduate of the China Academy of Fine Arts then. Those potatoes looked like the tragic protagonists beyond description. Asked about what the title of this series of artworks was, Gong He answered: “Scars of Mr. Potato”. The original plan was to select three pieces of artworks from each artist to be exhibited, but the moment I saw Gong He’s works, I said without hesitation: “Bring all the works to the exhibition!” The staff, the artist and even myself were kind of stunned with these words.
So this is how I get to know the artist Gong He. The personified Mr. Potato is just like a vulnerable modern man with band-aid or on a drip. Yet sometimes those potatoes are just like us, our neighbors, our beloved ones or sexy guys. They are lonely in the boundless world just like one boat floating in this endless sea, and meanwhile seem to enjoy the fun of being alone. It is the artists’ self-analysis. It is also similar to our sleep talking. It is the artist’s past but also like our future. It is the unsocial and biased children or stubborn old men in this fast-changing society.
Mr. Potato is like the hunchback of Notre Dame, who plays the tragic hero. There is the presence of divinity where non-reality exists. There he sounds the heavy alarm diligently for everyone, whether people listen to it or not.
The series of “Unreasonable Panda” was originally a birthday gift to the artist’s girlfriend, painted by the artist himself. There was a birthday cake in front of that panda, which was so cute. So I suggested to Gong He to paint the panda series. He nodded to agree with me, feeling somewhat puzzled though. Somehow many high-profile people in the entertainment circle or other fields like collecting this series of works.
The series of “Money with Flames” reminds me of the movies directed by the Korean director Ki-Duk Kim. Money can not only breed everything, but also can destroy all living creatures. Money is the beginning but also the end of everything. It allures you to die for it, lures you to live for it, and finally brings about various scenes occurring in the society. And the money with traces of burning aches gives us a feeling of dry blood on the skin. This is a manifestation of the artist’s careful and meticulous painting soul
Look at the city scene in the wake of the tornado! Gong He exactly defines loneliness in his paintings like a philosopher. In such a city, Mr. Potato, rebellious panda, cute panda, righteous panda…are they happy here? I feel stifled without reason, trying my utmost to escape from here, but I cannot help but stand here helplessly, looking far into the horizon. And just at this moment I imagine that one day, the sad Mr. Potato will be an unrivalled hero incarnate in the Greek myth.